Are All herbs And Dietary Supplements Safe, And What Should I Know About An Herb Or Dietary Supplement Before I Take It?

Mimi Guarneri, M.D., Scripps

Question: Are all herbs and dietary supplements safe, and what should I know about a supplement before I take it?

Answer: So the question is, are all herbs and dietary supplements safe. Well, not all medications are safe. Now, I will preface this answer by saying that it's very rare that we ever see someone dying from an herb or supplement, whereas we do see this occurring in prescription drug medication. However, having said that, it is very important that if you use an herb or a supplement, or even a vitamin, that you discuss this with your physician.

And it's very important that you know what doses and what brands to use. It's very important when choosing a brand or a supplement or an herb that you're looking that it's made to pharmaceutical grade, that it has a GMP stamped on the label or a USP stamped on the label. These are some of the recognition parameters that hopefully what's in the bottle, or what is said is in the bottle is really there. So we have to really take care when we mix vitamins and herbs with prescription medication.

And it's really important to have a discussion with your health practitioner about what you potentially need, what the research is, and what is right for you.

Mimi Guarneri, M.D., Scripps
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